Anyone developing a building project on the south coast will be concerned about future proofing the property. But knowing what technology today is viable for the future and what will be superseded by better technology is almost impossible. If only we could count on reliability, quality and availability to help us make up our minds, but it’s not that simple either. Betamax was better than VHS. It was better quality, and there was no reason that Beta video recorders wouldn’t have become smaller and lighter in the fullness of time. So why did VHS take over?
JVC was interested in making cheap, readily available video tapes for the home. While Sony were heavily invested in music and cinema production and distribution, giving them all the networks they needed to monopolise, they failed to capitalise on their advantage as they refused to license Betamax technology to other companies. This was their major mistake as JVC were happy to let other manufacturers and licensees produce their cheaper VHS tapes. This meant that you could essentially get any other movie except a Sony production on VHS.
By the 90s we’d seen too many alternatives come onto the market and disappear. In the 80s there was laserdisc, VHS, Betamax, cassette, they were followed by CDs DVDs, Minidisc and finally MP3 and MP4. After Minidisc there was a rush to invent the next media, technology companies were looking for the next music and video storage system, but the record industry was against it. Technology was over-proliferating the market so there was a risk that nobody would buy new devices because they were worried that their new hi-fi or video player would be obsolete before the warranty had expired. A moratorium on new technology lasted for a few years while Minidiscs proved popular, useful, but unfortunately other technology was sneaking up behind. Read more